AjeyoLAST UPDATED: Sept. 22, 2020, 4:32 p.m.
Leh: China had started the construction of at least 13 new military posts for the People's Liberation Army (PLA), including an airbase and air defense unit along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India after the 2017 standoff in Doklam.
Now, four heliports are also being built following the current tensions in Ladakh.
A report released on Tuesday by a leading security and intelligence agency includes satellite image details of these military bases. The new PLA bases include three airbases, five permanent air defense units and five heliports.
The report, written by Sim Tack, a military analyst with prominent Belgium-based geopolitical intelligence platform Security and Stratfor, said that China started building four new heliports only after the onset of the current Ladakh crisis in May.
"The Doklam crisis of 2017 has shifted China's strategic objectives. China has doubled the total number of airbases, air defense units and heliports along the Indian border in the last three years," he added.
The Chinese military is building four air defense units within the existing airbase and other facilities such as additional runways and shelters that will help counter fighter aircraft. The report states that the PLA is also deploying more air defense systems and fighter aircraft for existing facilities.
There have been several reports of China's PLA deploying additional troops, special forces, armored units and air defense units on the Tibetan plateau amid the current deadlock in Ladakh, which went public in early May.
Analysis of open-source satellite imagery has revealed that China's PLA has built a surface-to-air missile site along the banks of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet, and similar to cover sensitive parts of the disputed border in the Doklam and Sikkim sectors Is developing facilities.
A graphic included in the Stratfor report revealed that the PLA had only one heliport and an air defense site on the Tibetan plateau in 2016 while China has expanded its military infrastructure in the region since 2019.
Last year, China developed four airbases, four air defense sites, a heliport and an electronic warfare station. China has developed four airbases, four heliports and an air defense site on the Tibetan plateau this year. Work on the heliport and an airbase started after tension in Ladakh.
"The rapid expansion of permanent Chinese military infrastructure points to broader deadline intentions than current and recent border deadlocks," the report said.
An important objective of China's recent infrastructure development is to "strengthen its ability to project air power along the entire Indian border" and exploit potential "gaps in India's capabilities".
Such long-term developments rise above the more immediate deployment made by China in its previous border deadlock with India and future intentions to increase Chinese vocal military posture in border disputes with India, the report said. Reflect
China's strategy aims to confront India with a major challenge in regional disputes by leaning on broad support capabilities that provide Beijing with a tremendous ability to mobilize forces in disputed border areas.
By applying the same strategy to the LAC, China aims to discourage Indian resistance or military action during future border disputes, demonstrating its ability and intent to engage in military confrontations.
The Stratfor report noted, "The rapid development of China's military infrastructure on the Indian border suggests a change in Beijing's approach to regional disputes, forcing New Delhi to rethink its national security. . "
While China's new developments are geographically focused on Ladakh, its activity across the entire border of India is "likely for future expansion of Indian military infrastructure near disputed borders in Sikkim and Arunachal."